Demonetisation: Pune think tank advised Modi, suggested scrapping income tax too

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Pune-based economic think tank ArthaKranti, which claims to have suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demonetise the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, wants the government to abolish income tax and 56 other taxes and replace it by a banking transaction tax, or BTT, of two per cent on earnings.

“Imagine, taxes reduced. Petrol at Rs 28 per litre. That is ArthaKranti’s next proposal,” the outfit tweeted on Monday. ArthaKranti, which literally means financial or economic revolution, is a group of technocrats and chartered accountants. It first proposed its five-point proposal for tax reforms in 1999. It had even planned a meeting in Pune on November 11-13 to demand that the PM implement its five-point agenda. According to the organisation, it has had regular interactions with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office all through 2015, and that it had given its blueprint for an economic revolution in the country to Modi in 2014, before he was elected the prime minister. ArthaKranti claims its leading light Anil Bokil, an Aurangabad-based chartered accountant and architect, was allocated nine minutes’ audience with Modi in July this year, but the two discussed the idea of demonetisation for over 90 minutes. The group had also met Modi in Gandhinagar in 2013, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. On Sunday, the PM said in Belgaum that the demonetisation move was planned by a small group of people over the past 10 months.

The outfit wants all taxes, including income tax, be done away with. The only current tax it says should be retained is import duty or Customs.

The outfit has applauded the PM for taking the first step, of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, and is looking forward to Modi implementing the remaining four steps.

The objective of its five-point plan is to reduce the huge cash economy or informal economy that runs outside the banking system. It wants the recently issued Rs 2,000 currency note to be eventually withdrawn as well as other high-denomination notes, including Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100. It has suggested that all high-value transactions be made via banking instruments. There should be a limit on cash withdrawals.

Tax earned from BTT can then be shared between the Union government, state governments, civic bodies and panchayats.

ArthaKranti believes that the PM has started walking on that road by first launching the Jan Dhan Yojana to give every person a bank account, then working to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by April 1, 2017 and now demonetisation. It also lauded the PM for his intent to have a uniform civil code, that is, one law; and simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, that is, one election for the entire country.

The outfit has applauded the PM for taking the first step of demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, and is looking forward to Modi implementing the remaining four steps.

The objective of its five-point plan is to reduce the huge cash economy or informal economy that runs outside the banking system. It wants the recently issued Rs 2,000 currency note, as well as other high denomination notes, including Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100, to be eventually withdrawn.

It has suggested that all high value transactions be made via banking instruments. There should be a limit on cash withdrawals.

Tax earned from BTT can then be shared between the union government, state governments, civic bodies and panchayats.

Sources: www.business-standard.com

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